River tubing comes from North America where it usually entails a relaxing float down a gentle river, often in the lovely warm sunshine; altogether a mellow experience. River tubing with Full On Adventure in the Cairngorms National Park is a different experience. For us, it was an adrenaline-filled ‘full-on’ white water adventure, shooting over rapids, bumping past (and into) rocks in mid-stream and gliding past towering crags. The instructors can find you a gentle, babbling mountain stream if that is what you wish, but we opted to go the white water route!
As you all know, the mountain streams here can be a wee bit nippy even in the middle of summer, so we were kitted out for our adventure in full wetsuits, including wetsuit bootees; a helmet (there are big rocks in the river); and special neoprene flipper hand paddle gloves. Oh, and buoyancy aids in case we fell in – which we all did on several occasions.
After squeezing ourselves into the above ‘fancy dress’ costumes, I was surprised Neil (who opted not to join in) was able to recognise all five of us. But he did, and he managed to juggle taking photos of each of us with everyone’s cameras.
Our super instructor, Chris ran through a brief lesson on dry land. Basically: go backwards on the calmer stretches and lean back and ‘row’ backwards, and shoot the rapids head on and hold on tight! The ‘hold on tight to your tube’ bittie must have sunk in very well to each of us, as I know that the couple of times I fell in (when the tube flipped over 180 degrees), I did not let go of my tube!
Then he demonstrated this hand flapping thing on the water
and we all tried it too.
Soon it was time to watch as Chris demonstrated how to run a wee rapid
And we went too.
Part way down the stream one or two of us were daft enough to take a wee jump into the water from the crags. I know this is only a wee jump,. but this was a big thing for me, as I don’t even like jumping into the swimming pool
Chris had told us that you don’t always have a lot of control of our vessel, because, after all, it is a rubber ring! He, too, took a spill.
At least he regained control very coolly
I, too, did a flip upside down here – but went a bit further in the water before scrambling onto the rocks.
I got back in and finished in a bit more style!
Thanks to Full On Adventure, based in Aviemore in the Cairngorm National Park, for providing us a fun, free staff outing. They offer a wide range of other land and water-based activities including: white water rafting; canoeing; kayaking; canyoning; mountain biking; and rock climbing.